This is how I felt when both ‘We must stop Angela Merkel’s bullying – or let the forces of austerity win‘ by Owen Jones (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/28/syriza-merkel-economic-greece-europe) and ‘Bank of England governor attacks eurozone austerity‘ by Larry Elliott (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jan/28/bank-england-governor-attacks-eurozone-austerity) passed in front of me. It is a unique issue, the political left in league with the banks. It is likely to be a first. The left want the image of cost of living relief, which is a ludicrous fantasy to begin with and that fantasy seems to be all about getting to spend money. We have a similar ‘BS’ joke like this in Australia. That person is called Bill Shorten. You see, as I see it, the banks want ease so that this generation can get a few more millions in commissions before it all collapses.
Let’s take a look at the youthful Mr Oxford (Owen Jones). It starts with the opening premise: ‘Angela Merkel is the most monstrous western European leader of this generation‘. No, she is not! Let’s take a look at the past. Around 2009 Merkel stated that enough is enough. She introduced austerity measures and she sliced back on German spending by a lot. The German people were in pain, they all were. The consequence was that the debt had gone down by a lot, so when harder times came, Germany had shed some of its debt and as such, lower costs on interests and therefor the pain that followed in 2011 and 2012 was suddenly not as painful for the Germans at large. I remember seeing the news. The Dutch did not adhere to such notions, they were all in the mindset like ‘it will get better next year’, at that time the Dutch Finance minister was Wouter Bos. It would not be so good. To be honest, the pain the Dutch felt would not have been that extreme if they had tightened the belt from 2009 onwards as well, but they were all adhering to their ‘good news cycle’, whomever came next had to clean up the mess. It was not just the Dutch, the French, the Italian, the Spanish, as well as the United Kingdom, they all went overboard in spending trillions.
So when I read the deluded word by Owen Jones, it just makes me a little sad. the quote “The Greeks have rebelled against machine men – and women – and they are crying out for others to follow“, that sounds nice as an epitaph for Don Quixote as he marches against the next windmill (possibly a Dutch one), but the Greeks created their own mess. Their inadequacy to deal with corruption, tax collection and a host of other issues got THEMSELVES into the mess they have. Would it not be nice to clearly state that?
Then Own comes with “As Krugman notes, the troika – the IMF, European Central Bank and European commission – promoted “an economic fantasy”, for which the Greeks have paid. They projected that unemployment would peak at 15% in 2012, but it hurtled to over 25% instead“, which is a part I do agree with. There was an economic fantasy, because the austerity measures needed where on lethal levels which cannot be denied, how do the Greeks react? With a series of strikes and vandalism events which only got them into deeper water. A watery grave the Greeks had created for themselves. They now have a debt of well over 325 billion for a population of 11 million, so how wealthy are those 11 million Greeks? If not, where did that money go? The fact that Greek bonds are now at 9.85% should be an indication that Greece is now almost denied existence, it for the most, only has itself to blame, since 2009, how many Greeks actually went to court and to prison for what was done? Of the 2069 Greek accounts in Switzerland (as mentioned in a Greek magazine), who besides the journalist has appeared in court? It seems that making Germany the scapegoat for something the Greeks did themselves is absent of loads of logic.
Then we get another quote that is up for discussion: “Germany ploughed money into countries such as Greece and Spain – that’s the “magic” of deregulated markets – and in doing so “lent more than they could afford”. German banks and their political champions should have known this would end in disaster“, I disagree. Greece was given an option, but was also informed of the intense pressures that this causes. What did they do? Whinge and whine like faulty politicians with the spinal cord of a paperback, not a hardcover amongst them! Instead of going after tax dodgers and those who had made bad calls, to see what they could get back, they went into states of denial, like flaccid applications to a concrete wall, not a scratch was made and when the time was up, they again, whined for more cash, an idea given to them by Charles Dickens in his story Oliver Twist. Then suddenly miraculously, the crisis was over and suddenly they went back to the bond market for more. None of those events are in this article.
Last we get “The future of millions of Europeans – Greek, French, Spanish and British alike – will be bleak indeed. That is why a movement to defend the already ruined nation of Greece is so important. Defeated Germany benefited from debt relief in 1953, and we must demand that for Greece today“, how about the clarity that debt relief came and Greece did nothing, and now, they are whinging and whining (again) for more cash, less debt (through forgiving current debts). However, nobody is making any headway in aligning the justice system and the law to take care of those evading taxation. It will not be anywhere near enough, but it will be a clear signal that Greece is serious about taking a stance for resolving debt and fortifying its annual income. Oh and when the debt is forgiven? Who pays for that money not coming in? The IMF or divide the debt over all the EU nations, who are all beyond their maximum borrowing points? Perhaps option 2? Let the ‘Grexit’ commence and let’s see how the Drachma will leave the Greek people in a state so much worse. At that point the people will dream of those good old austerity times.
Let’s face it, it is not fair to the Greek people, not one bit, but I have seen enough BS in regards to blaming the Germans for what some Greeks did to Greece. If we look at 2013, the quote “The state collected less than half of the revenues it was due to receive last year as it appeared unable to ensure that taxes and fines found their way to its coffers, according to a State Audit Council report submitted in Parliament on Tuesday by its president, Ioannis Karavokyris“, this was an article from November 2013, almost 4 years after the mess they themselves created. (at http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite2_1_05/11/2013_526451), so as the Greeks drop the ball over and over again, who do they have to blame but themselves? So as I take my leave from Owen Jones, we look at the second Mr Oxford in this equation. With Owen I am willing to concede that he has his ideological heart in the right place, with Mr Smiley Smiley Canadian Mark Carney, former Governor of the Bank of Canada and the current Governor of the Bank of England, the gloves come off. So let’s introduce Marky Mark to the business end of a two by four in the shape of a keyboard!
It starts quite lovely, immediate of the bat with “Mark Carney says eurozone is caught in a debt trap and should ease hardline budget cuts just days after the Syriza election directly challenged policy“, just under the title. Why should we ease up? If we ease up after an election, the Greeks can forgo debt by having 12 elections over the next three years. It is the cost of doing business and as such, the Greeks themselves have not shown one iota of intent from 2009 onward (the lack of artful tax dodge prosecution could be regarded as evidence piece number one).
The second whopping ‘miss-statement’ might be seen in “Speaking in Dublin, Carney said the eurozone needed to ease its hardline budgetary policies and make rapid progress towards a fiscal union that would transfer resources from rich to poor countries“, when we see parts like ‘transfer resources from rich to poor countries‘, in my view (and in the view of some others), it reads like ‘as big business transfers corporate structures towards economic ailing areas. This was achieved through a subsidy structure that gave way to spreading business opportunity to less fortunate areas’. It also translates in the non-written text part of that statement as less tax liable options for big business, already far beyond normal wealth, move towards areas where labour laws are even less protective, optimising profits for big business.
So when he states as a bank governor the following “Carney made it clear that he thought the failure to complete the process of integration coupled with over-restrictive fiscal policies risked driving the 18-nation single currency area deeper into a debt trap“, which is not untrue, yet the part as a banker, that he does not mention is that he and his buddies profit greatly from spending sprees, if governments suddenly get a hold of their budgets, banks lose out a lot. This can be seen in the simplest way when we consider the Greek bonds. When that market opened up again (which should never have been allowed), the Greeks did not just add to their debt, someone in the banking world ended up with a 65 million euro bonus (in total) for selling these bonds, I am certain that the ‘wealth’ was spread around a little, but some of these financial people just cannot make ends meet on 350K a year, supporting a wife, kids, a Ferrari, a Ducati and two mistresses. You need that bond bonus to feel secure in your way of life as I see it. I wonder if the easing up has anything to do with meetings that places like Loomis Sayles ‘might’ have had with Natixis, perhaps Mr Carney attended a social event in such settings?
I agree with the premise we read in the quote “Since the financial crisis all major advanced economies have been in a debt trap where low growth deepens the burden of debt, prompting the private sector to cut spending further. Persistent economic weakness damages the extent to which economies can recover. Skills and capital atrophy“, I agree with that premise, yet this was a given already in 2011. I foresaw these events in 2012 and I read as bankers all over the place were hosting to ‘bright weather forecasting‘ whilst not taking the cautious steps that should have been taken. We can either state that politicians were too stupid to consider the dangers, or they were happy to leave the mess to those who followed (like Labour left hundreds of billions in debts to the Liberals in Australia), after that we see banks and the media in cycles of ‘bad news management’ slowly lowering expectation and forecasts, whilst the money had already been spend. So, yes Mr Carney, you state a good quote, it is just incredibly incomplete!
So, when we read “Carney has been vocal in his support for the European Central Bank’s decision to start buying government and commercial debt in its own version of the quantitative easing programmes, but said the Frankfurt-based central bank was unable alone to eliminate the threat of a prolonged stagnation“, we see nothing wrong. It is to the smallest degree commendable, only to the smallest degree, because several governments had entered a state of overspending, followed by ‘bad news management’ an intertwined cycle that would undo whatever headway quantitative easing would bring. The need for greed will always win in the end, so those programs are just a fantasy, Greece has some evidence of that part too, as they were part in both sides of that game. Isn’t it nice when the bank plays player one, player two and acts as the bank in the middle. That part truly sucks if you are player three and four in a game of monopoly. If we see Germany as player 3, than who is player 4?
I’ll let you do the math there!
You see, the actual solution would have been to take a stronger position on IP rules and regulations. An approach to ease the path for the small innovator of newly designed products. As several IP sides were all about setting goals towards ‘business’ (read big business), they forgot that when we look at the period between the 50’s and the 70’s, innovation came from the small inventors. Nearly every economy starts stepwise from small players and small innovators. Today, the players are so focussed on the large amounts, they tend to focus on large players like Apple and Microsoft and they forget that these companies, for a larger part live of the premise of the Vulture cycle, you pick the carcass until the hunter shoots a new prey, then they wait until it is feeding time. Small innovators (like Markus Persson with Minecraft) have the actual idea, which a large company then buys for 2 billion plus. As small innovators are given space to proceed and as larger players are denied blocking patents to force amalgamation of the true visionary into their moulding process that is the moment when economies will truly move forward. That is how you get forward momentum!
So when we see the final quote by Mark Carney “Carney said the eurozone’s unemployment rate of 11.5% was more than double that of the UK, but its fiscal deficit – the gap between tax revenues and spending – was only half the size of the UK’s. The eurozone, he said, should be using a “constructive” fiscal policy to support demand and mitigate the “tail risks of stagnation”“, we should wonder who he is catering to. As I saw it, the article was all about policies that are interesting for the boards of directors of the corporations, but the people will only be allowed the conceptual benefit on the tale end. Benefits that might have been a realistic form of support for treasuries all over Europe if they had done something actual to properly set up tax policies. Catering to big business stopped being constructive or lucrative for governments for half a decade now, how much longer will you take until you figure out that big business only caters to their own board of directors?